Who should hold talks with govt, FA or UDMF?

Kathmandu, May 25

Opinion is divided in the Federal Alliance whether the FA or the United Democratic Madhesi Front, which is a constituent of the alliance, should hold talks with the government if such an opportunity arises.

Chair of Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal Upendra Yadav and Chair of Sanghiya Janamukti Party Parshuram Tamang said if the agitating forces had to hold talks with the government, the FA should do it, as it was leading the current agitation and had incorporated the demands of the front.

Tamang said it was logical for the FA to hold talks with the government, as it represents the UDMF. “If the government wants to hold talks with the agitating forces, it should invite the alliance,” he said.

Chair of Sadbhawana Party Rajendra Mahato, however, said the UDMF was known for its contribution to protecting and promoting Madhesis’ rights for long but the alliance was a very recent creation.

“How can the UDMF, which spearheaded the movement in the Tarai more than once, remain in oblivion? This does not mean that the UDMF should leave the FA,” he said and added that both the FA and the UDMF could hold talks separately with the government in case the environment for talks was prepared by the government.

“If the FA’s Kathmandu centric movement fails to achieve desired results, it will be the UDMF that would steer and intensify agitation in the Tarai,” he added.

Spokesperson for the Tarai Madhes Democratic Party Sarvendranath Shukla said if the UDMF held talks with the government, it would carry the sentiments of the alliance and other constituents of the alliance should not take it otherwise.

“The UDMF is an important constituent of the alliance and everybody should accept this,” Shukla said and added that the Madhesi and Janajatis came together after prolonged efforts, and they should accommodate each other’s concerns.

Mahato said the alliance leaders needed to accept the fact that in Janajati dominated areas only Janajatis could organise protests against the discriminatory provisions of the constitution and in Madhes only the UDMF could effectively carry out protest programmes.

Another Madhesi leader said the UDMF could not act as a springboard for somebody to rise to prominence.

“Dozens of people sacrificed their lives under the UDMF’s banner. We cannot allow the UDMF to be sidelined by the alliance,” the leader added. He said the UDMF would hold its meeting in a day or two and prepare its own protest programmes.

‘Government not serious’

KATHMANDU: Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal Chair Upendra Yadav said the government was still not serious about holding talks with the agitating forces.

“The government’s talks offer was like a tender notice. We came to know of the talks offer only after reading the newspaper,” Yadav said.

He added that the government first needed to prepare environment for talks by committing to implement past agreements signed with agitating forces, including the 22-point and eight-point agreements, to rewrite the constitution and withdraw charges slapped against UDMF cadres and leaders.

“How can we sit for talks when our cadres and leaders languish in jails and are being harassed by state agencies for their participation in the Tarai movement?” he asked.